Fiji Time: 8:23 AM on Friday 30 September

Fiji Times Logo

/ Front page / Sport

Blues in the race

Aap
Friday, May 02, 2014

WELLINGTON - The weakened Blues are last in a jam-packed race for New Zealand Conference honours and in danger of missing the Super Rugby play-offs for a third straight season.

But coach Sir John Kirwan reckons it's the Queensland Reds who are under pressure.

Two former title-winning teams struggling to find their best form meet at Eden Park tonight, with Kirwan anxious that his men repeat the aggressive approach that felled Australian opposition at the same venue last week.

The 21-13 defeat of the Waratahs wasn't a vintage performance but was enough to suggest the Blues can lift further from the ninth placing and push for their first play-off appearance under Kirwan.

"Last week was what we needed to do from an intensity and effort point of view and that now needs to be our minimum, we need to at least match that," he said.

"All our games have been going right down to the wire but I'm confident if we can bring that attitude then we'll be in the hunt."

The Blues' cause isn't helped by losing centre Francis Saili to an ankle injury suffered at training on Wednesday. He is replaced by Jackson Willison.

Also missing is captain Luke Braid to a shoulder injury, leaving the second-choice Brendon O'Connor to combat Liam Gill, the classy Reds openside flanker who returns after five weeks battling a hamstring niggle.

While the Blues are still in the hunt with a 4-5 win-loss record, the 13th-placed Reds are on the precipice at 3-6, having lost their last three games.

"They'll be desperate so we can't wait, we've just got to really hoe in and replicate the energy and effort that we put in last week," Kirwan said.

"It's a big night for us and we feel like we're the underdogs."

Kirwan believed the play-off make-up would go down to the final round and was enjoying being part of a Kiwi conference in which six points cover the five teams, who are nestled from fourth to ninth place.

"It's great all the sides are so close, but it's pressure games every week. You can't slip up, especially now. The next three to four weeks are going to be very defining."








Fiji Times Front Page Thumbnail

Kaila Front Page ThumbnailFiji Times & Kaila Frontpage PDF Downloads

Use the free Acrobat Reader to view.

Westpac
Code Inward TTs Outward TTs
CAD 0.64830.6293
JPY 50.568747.5687
GBP 0.37930.3713
EUR 0.44160.4296
NZD 0.68680.6538
AUD 0.64760.6226
USD 0.49740.4804

from

$0.00

Exchange Rate updated on 29th September 2016

Today's Most Read Stories

  1. Dire straits
  2. Judoka dies
  3. Lutumailagi in top form
  4. Ex-sales rep jailed
  5. Veikoso's life of struggle, pain
  6. FRA to advertise jobs, hope for MWH workers
  7. Committee recommends MP's suspension
  8. Ratu Isoa apologises
  9. FLP condemns proposal
  10. Killer disease claims 1200 lives annually

Top Stories this Week

  1. Nurse is a lawyer Friday (23 Sep)
  2. Dire straits Thursday (29 Sep)
  3. Rugby death Tuesday (27 Sep)
  4. Road closure Saturday (24 Sep)
  5. Rawaca out Sunday (25 Sep)
  6. Private jets attract attention at Nadi Airport Sunday (25 Sep)
  7. Three Cavuilati, 6 Olympians in Fiji 7s squad Sunday (25 Sep)
  8. Police investigate rugby 7s organiser Monday (26 Sep)
  9. Rawaca boosts program Monday (26 Sep)
  10. Losing dad at Class 4 inspires Macanalagi Friday (23 Sep)